My friend work in a small size software company - 15 employees(lets say X) went through a strange situation today, he was asked first by the employer (Lets say Boss B) that If he can leave the company and search for another job in a month, they will give good recommendation and reference letter and later negotiated to 6 months more and then they will decide on continuation of employment.

X got very good yearly review last month by B for work and X recently went through some trouble in his personal life that B knows as well. A few days ago B told in front of all employees (when X was not there) that there is no much work for X in the company and he is not knowing much on other profile works, B told will see some more months and will fire him- X (extreme unprofessionalism by saying this in front of me and others). Also, X is an international person and B was supposed to file h1b for X this April as they promised him before, he is working for 1.5 years here.

X is a data person and B want him to work on Software more with little data work. He has little knowledge in software and X, being trapped in situations, can't just move in a month and also get an h1b filed by a new employer.

X asked B if he gets an interview, will B give him holidays and paid leave to properly prepare and give interviews.

B replied, I was just checking if you are willing to work for this company and I was just thinking to take this decision to lay you off, not decided to lay you off, but instead of showing interest in harder work or assuring me of good performance, you are ready to leave and look for another job.

X got totally surprised and told he can work harder and prove himself but got a very strange situation from B, told the way you asked was looking decisive not like a negotiation. B told you work and we will see in October.

B shook hand and told, will talk again in October.

B being a crazy money saving person skipped any talks of money. X from last 2 months was supposed to get a pay rise, but after this encounter, he is feeling very unsure to ask anything related to pay hike as his job is in danger and he is also an international person on OPT extension with just 1 year 4 months remaining.

Note: If they apply H1b and get approved (they told they will), his salary will be hiked by almost 30%, that's the number they wrote on the application for all filing including him and gave to lawyer a week ago to do paperwork. B is also not willing to pay so much and now thinking to either save any hike of X's salary till October or fire him in October, or any chance to get some data work and keep him for more months.

My Question: I am feeling pissed and sad to see all this with my friend, his other colleagues also complained about pay related bad behavior from the company.

  1. What X should do now ? should he continue trying harder to improve or look for another job?

  2. Is it normal behavior of a Boss to create this kind of situation to save money or fire a person?

  3. What other colleagues should learn from this?

  4. How to handle such a situation for internationals?

Response appreciated.

  • 6
    TL;DR. Can you condense this down into a question?
    – PeteCon
    Feb 28 '19 at 3:26
  • "`his salary will be hiked by almost 30% ... that's the number they wrote on the application for all filing including him" -> non sequitur Feb 28 '19 at 8:13

Just to clarify, the sequence of events (as I read them) is:
- Boss asks X to find another job
- Boss says X can work for 6 more months
- Boss tells everyone there is no work for X and will terminate him after
- Boss tells him that he has decided not to fire him, but was just testing him
- X is a foreign national on a temporary work visa
- Boss' company has filed for X to get on an h1b visa

So, giving the above understanding, I will answer as above:

tl;dr: Contact an advocacy group in your area/state and get the most knowledgeable advice for people in his situation directly from them.

  1. He should find a new job as soon as he can. He definitely shouldn't be wasting any more of his time than absolutely necessary to stay employed until that happens.

    He should also start (if he hasn't already) keeping detailed documentation of all interactions with any management including, and definitely not limited to, the dates and times of interactions, what was discussed, and any outcomes from that interaction. "All" in this case doesn't include "2019-02-28 0930 Boss says hello, I said hello back".

  2. It's definitely "normal" behaviour for many small business owners and people who hire international visa works to intimidate or harass their employees in to "working harder" or otherwise caving to unreasonable demands. (Small note to small business owners out there: this may not apply to you specifically, but it is endemic to the class). As for the abuse of visa workers, it's obviously a minority, but normality != majority.
  3. They should learn that they should likely find other places of employment if they experience similar treatment, or if they want to act in solidarity with their fellow employee. This is especially powerful since this skill set is in very high demand at the moment.
  4. The US isn't particularly forgiving, but you may have protections afforded to you according to visa type. You are also covered by whatever the local, regional, and federal laws apply to your working classification. Essentially, you need a lawyer to help you navigate these issues. There are also advocacy groups available in most states for visa workers who can provide more knowledgeable advice on what to do next.
  • Appreciate your response, I totally agree with you. Yes, international workers are abused, I will pass this message to him.
    – Hari_pb
    Feb 28 '19 at 15:28

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